|Publication number||US8093992 B2|
|Application number||US 12/257,188|
|Publication date||Jan 10, 2012|
|Filing date||Oct 23, 2008|
|Priority date||Apr 7, 2003|
|Also published as||EP1623181A2, US20040198336, US20090111454, WO2005022067A2, WO2005022067A3|
|Publication number||12257188, 257188, US 8093992 B2, US 8093992B2, US-B2-8093992, US8093992 B2, US8093992B2|
|Inventors||Dale Allen JANCIC, Paul Joseph DEYESO|
|Original Assignee||L-3 Communications Insight Technology Incorporated|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (40), Non-Patent Citations (7), Referenced by (27), Classifications (13), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/819,429, filed Apr. 7, 2004, now abandoned, which claims the benefit of the filing date under 35 USC §119(e) of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 60/460,935, filed on Apr. 7, 2003, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
This invention relates to weapon mounted auxiliary devices, and more particularly to control of such auxiliary devices.
There has been a dramatic increase in the number and types of auxiliary weapon mounted devices in military, law enforcement and consumer applications. These include passive devices such as night vision image intensifier devices, thermal imaging systems, and day optics; and active devices such as visible laser aiming devices, infrared laser aiming devices, infrared illuminators, laser range finders, and visible illuminators (e.g., weapon-mounted flashlights). All of these devices can generally be referred to as auxiliary devices. To date these auxiliary devices have been operated by a combination of switches and controls mounted on the devices themselves and by cable switches. The cable switches enable the operator to operate the weapon mounted device, while holding the weapon in a normal firing position. The cable switches arrangement is typically more convenient than the device's integral switches. Cable switches, however, can have cables that are cumbersome. If not routed properly, the cables can interfere with operation of the weapon, snag on objects or can be melted or otherwise damaged if they come into contact with hot or mechanically moving parts of the weapon. This can be exacerbated by the fact that individual weapon mounted auxiliary devices are produced for use on multiple weapon systems and are normally supplied with just a single remote cable switch with a fixed cable length. As a result, if the length of the cable is appropriate for a large weapon it is usually so long as to require unique routing in order not to have excessive slack and become a snag hazard when mounted on a smaller weapon. If the cable length is suitable for use on a small weapon, it is normally too short for use on a large weapon necessitating the operator to obtain a new cable switch. Further complicating the situation is that different operators mount their auxiliary devices in different positions on the weapon and desire to have the activation switch in unique positions based on individual shooting style. This results in no one cable length being optimal in all or even most situations.
This situation can be further complicated with multiple auxiliary devices being mounted on a single weapon at one time. As the quantity of auxiliary devices on a weapon increases, the number of cable switches multiplies causing increased cable management problems and adding appreciable weight, reliability issues, and snag hazards.
In one aspect, a wireless control system includes an auxiliary device configured to be mounted on a weapon and a remote control device that wirelessly controls the auxiliary device. In another aspect, the wireless control system includes the weapon. In yet another aspect, the auxiliary device includes a light generating device. The light generating device includes an enclosure, a power source, a light source, a receiver, and a device function controller. The enclosure is configured to be mounted on a weapon. The receiver is in electrical communication with the power source, and the receiver is configured to receive a first wireless signal. The device function controller is in electrical communication with the power source, the receiver, and the light source. The device function controller is configured to control the light source based on the first wireless signal.
Other embodiments including any of the aspects above may also include one or more of the following features:
The wireless control system can include a receiver and a transmitter. The receiver and transmitter communicate with each other using radio frequency, infrared waves, a sound wave, a pressure wave, or other wireless techniques. The receiver may also be sensitive to a unique wavelength, pulse pattern, or signal strength. The auxiliary device and/or the remote control device can include an encoder configured to encode the first wireless signal. The auxiliary device and/or the remote control device can include a decoder configured to decode the first wireless signal. There can also be a second wireless signal, for example, transmitted by a transmitter. The second wireless signal can include status information of the remote control device and/or the auxiliary device.
The remote control device can be matched to the auxiliary device. A first key module is associated with the auxiliary device and a second key module is associated with the remote control device and communicates with the first key module. In certain embodiments, the first key module is a key generation module and the second key module is a key decoder module or vice versa. In other embodiments, the first key module is a key decoder module and the second key module is a key generation module or vice versa. The auxiliary device and/or the remote control device can include a key receiver and a key module, where the key receiver and the key module are cooperating to authenticate wireless signals received from an authorized source. The auxiliary device can include a receiver module to enable the remote control device to control the auxiliary device
The remote control device includes a switch configured to control a function of the auxiliary device. Examples of the function include a state of the device (e.g., on/off), brightness level of light, level of sound, or level of power consumption. The remote control device switch can be configured to control a second function of the auxiliary device. The remote control device may be integral, permanently attached, or removably affixed to the weapon. The switch may also control a function of another auxiliary device. The remote control device may include more than one switch and include at least one of the following: a device selection switch, an activation switch, and a control switch. The switch can be a rotary or linear switch, a button, or a joystick.
The wireless control system may also include a display. The display may be configured to display a menu to select the weapon mounted auxiliary device or set a mode of operation. The display can be included on the remote control device
The auxiliary device and/or the remote control device can include an indicator configured to indicate a status of a power source associated with a transmitter device transmitting a wireless signal to the remote control device and/or the auxiliary device (e.g. light generating device). The wireless signal can include a portion indicating a status of a power source associated with a transmitter device transmitting the wireless signal to/from the auxiliary device (e.g., the light generating device).
In another example, a second transmitter is associated with the auxiliary device, and a second receiver is associated with remote control device. In this example, the auxiliary device can transmit information to the remote control device. The information can include status information and commands. The information may include ready status, operational status, existing operational modes, target, range, azimuth, elevation data, self-diagnostics results, or battery life. The second receiver and second transmitter can communicate with each other using radio frequency, infrared waves, a sound wave, a pressure wave, or other wireless techniques.
In another example, the wireless control system includes a cable that is removably coupled to the remote control device or the auxiliary device. The transmitter can be disabled when the cable is engaged, for example, when the cable is coupled to both the remote control device and the auxiliary device. In another example, the wireless control system includes a mode of operation to limit detection. In order to limit detection, low RF power, spread spectrum technology, frequency hopping signals, or burst transmissions are used. The auxiliary device and/or the remote control device can include a watertight enclosure, which in some examples is watertight at depths greater than 50 feet.
The details of one or more embodiments of the invention are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features, objects, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.
The weapon 106 comprises a weapon frame with rails or grooves 130, located in and extending along at least a portion of the weapon frame, preferably parallel with an axis 134 of the barrel of weapon 106. The weapon frame also includes a slot (or other recess), for example, an elongated transverse slot (not shown), aligned substantially perpendicular to the rails 130. The slot is located between a trigger guard and the forward most portion of the frame. The illuminator 102, as shown in
The illuminator 102 also includes a projection, e.g., spring-loaded elongated bar 142 (
In one example, communication between remote control device 104 and the illuminator 102 is sufficiently unique so that signals from unintended remote control devices 104 do not affect other unintended auxiliary devices on an individual operator's weapon or a nearby operator's weapon. For example, if two soldiers are near each other, the first soldier does not want his illuminator 102 to activate in response to a signal from the second soldier's remote control device 104. In some examples, the techniques described herein to make an auxiliary device unique to a remote control device 104 can be used for a system with a master remote control device that individually controls a plurality of auxiliary devices.
The uniqueness between remote control device 104 and illuminator 102 can be accomplished in several ways. One such way is to provide a matched set including a remote control device 104 and an illuminator 102. For example, a manufacturer can produce a remote control device 104 and an illuminator device 102 as a matched set to operate at a unique frequency or with a unique device code that prefaces the code directing a particular operation of illuminator 102.
Keying allows an operator to match illuminator 102 to remote control device 104. In a case where remote control device 104 has not been used with illuminator 102, remote control device 104 initially transmits a unique code to illuminator 102. For example, the code may consist of the binary pattern 11001. Illuminator 102 receives this unique code (11001) and stores the code in memory 316. Illuminator 102 responds to a signal if the signal includes this unique code. Remote control device 104 also sends a number from synchronization counter 306. For example, synchronization counter 306 sends the number 284 to illuminator 102 and updates synchronization counter 306 to 285 (i.e., increments by one). Illuminator 102 stores the received number (284) in memory 316 and updates the synchronization counter to 285. On subsequent transmissions, remote control device 104 sends a signal to illuminator 102 that includes the unique code (11001) and the updated synchronization count (285). Key-module 310 in illuminator 102 confirms the unique code and the correct synchronization count. Upon confirmation of the correct code and count, illuminator 102 responds to control signal 320 from remote control device 104. Although this example follows a simple algorithm of incrementing the counters 306 and 314 by one, more sophisticated algorithms can be used.
Using a unique keying and rolling encryption algorithm eliminates unwanted activation of illuminator 102 by a different or other operator's remote control device 104. Also, by incorporating a provision for keying unique frequency or unique pulse, a particular remote control device 104 can be used to control different devices at different times. This is advantageous because new auxiliary devices can be issued to an operator without concern for the unique remote control device 104 the operator may have, and if a remote control device 104 is lost or becomes unserviceable, a replacement can be issued with out concern for the specific auxiliary devices the operator possesses. The operator only needs to key the illuminator 102 with the remote control device 104.
A continuous actuation of switch 112A may cause transmitter 110 to transmit a signal 210A to the receiver 108 in the illuminator 102 causing the light source 820 to turn on and stay on as long as the switch 112A is actuated and release of the switch 112A may cause the light source 820 to turn off. In one embodiment, the transmitter 110 transmits continuously while the switch is actuated and in another embodiment, the transmitter 110 transmits a first signal when the switch is actuated and a second signal when the switch is released. The first signal and the second signal may be the same. A controller in the illuminator 102 may latch the light source on when it receives the first signal and unlatch the light source when it receive the second signal. Likewise, a continuous actuation of switches 112B may cause transmitter 110 to transmit a signal 210B to the receiver 122 in the auxiliary device 120 causing it to respond appropriately. For example, if auxiliary device 120 is a laser, continuous actuation of switch 112B can cause the laser to turn on and stay on as long as the switch 112B is actuated and release of the switch 112B may cause the laser to turn off. Alternatively, a single actuation of switch 112A may cause the light source 820 to latch on and a subsequent actuation of switch 112A may cause the light source 820 to turn off. Likewise, a single actuation of switch 112B may cause device 824 to latch on and a subsequent actuation of switch 112A may cause device 824 to turn off.
Alternatively, one or more actuations of switch 112A or 112B within a defined time period, for example two actuations within 50 msec, may cause the light source 820 or device 824 to latch on and a subsequent actuation of switch 112A or 112B may cause the light source 820 or device 824 to turn off.
In the case of a remote control device 104 controlling multiple auxiliary devices, the auxiliary devices are equipped with receivers 108 receptive to unique wavelengths, unique pulse patterns, or other unique signal coding. In such case, activation of a particular switch on the remote control unit results in activation of a unique auxiliary device.
For example, as illustrated in
For an illustrative example, device “B” is an auxiliary light with three levels: off; low; and high. The user selects the particular auxiliary light by turning rotary switch 602 to position B. Each button 604, 606, and 608 controls a level of the selected device. Button 604 turns the light off, button 606 turns the light on low, and button 608 turns the light on high. If the user wants to turn the light on low, the user sets rotary switch 602 to position B and presses button 604. These actions cause only auxiliary device “B” to turn on to a low level.
In another example, as shown in
The examples above show switch 112 to be either a button or a rotary switch, but switch 112 can also be a joystick type control switch used to select and then scroll through a series of menus on a display to enable the operator to preset controls and performance parameters as well as a device or devices to be activated. Pressing one of a limited number of buttons on the remote control device activates each particular auxiliary device in a prescribed fashion, or pressing a single button can cause a series of events to occur by one or a multitude of auxiliary devices. Alternatively, the display 702 may be touch sensitive and allow the operator to make selections directly on the display.
In the preceding examples, the remote control device 104 transmits a signal 210 to the illuminator 102 to control the operation of illuminator 102.
Remote control device 104, illuminator 102, and auxiliary device 120 may utilize key modules in order to assign a switch on the remote control device 104 to the illuminator 102 or the auxiliary device 120. For example, illuminator 102 may be assigned to respond to switch 112A and auxiliary device 120 may be assigned to respond to switch 112B, or vice versa.
The signal 210 may include a family or customer identifier, a serial number, and one or more commands. The family or customer identifier and the serial number may be hard coded at the factory. The family or customer identifier allows illuminators and auxiliary devices to only respond to a particular family or customer remote control. The signal 210 may utilize rolling codes and encryption to prevent unauthorized control of illuminators and auxiliary devices. Communication between the remote control device 104, the illuminator 102, and the auxiliary device 120 may utilize a lower bandwidth to transmit ready status, operational status, and operational mode and utilize a higher bandwidth to transmit range, azimuth, and elevational data, self-diagnostic results, and video. The data, including the video, may be transmitted to an eyepiece that is part of a day optics and/or night vision optics.
Receiver 802 in remote control device 104 receives information 816 from illuminator 102 and auxiliary device 120. Such information may include, for example, ready status, operational status, existing operational modes, target range-azimuth-elevation data, results of self-diagnostics, remaining battery life or other information that is beneficial for an operator to have at the remote control device. Such information can also advise remote control device 104 of a particular situation or condition such that remote control device 104 can direct illuminator 102 to operate in a particular mode.
For example, illuminator 102 can be a battery-operated light. An operator activates the light by pressing the switch 112A on remote control device 104. When the operator presses switch 112A, encoder 202 encodes the signal and transmitter 110 sends a signal 210A to illuminator 102. Receiver 108 receives signal 210A, decoder 204 decodes the signal 210A, and the device function controller 206 turns on the light source 820. After using the light for an extended period, the battery may begin to run low. At this point, using device status module 814, illuminator 102 senses the low battery and encodes a signal using encoder 812. Transmitter 810 sends a signal 816 to receiver 802. Decoder 804 decodes signal 816 and displays the status on the status display 806 of the remote control device 104. This feedback allows the user to know the battery is low and adjust the usage of illuminator 102 accordingly. Data from the illuminator 102 and the auxiliary device 120 may be displayed in the status display 806 in the remote control device 104 or an eyepiece that is part of a day optics and/or night vision optics.
When the output voltage of the power source 822 in the remote control device 104 drops below a predetermined value, the transmitter 110 can send a “low battery” signal to the illuminator 102 and/or the auxiliary device 120. The “low battery” condition may be sensed by a suitable circuit. The “low battery” signal can be communicated, visually or audibly, to the operator through the indicator 828. The indicator 828 may be caused to stay on continuously, blink, or change color, or make an audible tone to communicate the “low battery” condition to the operator. Alternatively, the “low battery” condition can be communicated to the operator through indicator 828 on the remote control device 104. The indicator 828 advantageously enables the wireless control system 800 to notify the operator that due to a low power source, the wireless system 800 may not be or may become less than fully functional (e.g., actuating a button on the remote device 104 may no longer cause a change to the state of the auxiliary device 120). This allows the operator to recharge/replace the power source 822 or to switch to manual (e.g., non-wireless) portions of the system 800 to perform the desired operations.
In one embodiment, the auxiliary device is a remotely controllable camera. The camera may be mounted on a weapon to allow the operator to survey an area without placing his head in harms way. A remote control device allows the camera to pan, tilt, and zoom. Data from the auxiliary device may be transmitted to a display on the remote control device or an eyepiece that is part of a day optics and/or night vision optics.
Remote control device 104 can communicate with a global positioning system (GPS) mounted on an operator/soldier. Remote control device 104 can be wired or wireless to the GPS and can be mounted on the operator or on the weapon. The operator can point the laser on a target and transmit distance and angular position (as determined from a compass) from operator's position to assist in determining target's global position. The information can be displayed in day optics and/or night vision optics. Likewise, the GPS unit can communicate target angular position to the operator for ease in target acquisition.
In other examples, it may be desired that personnel, other than the operator, not detect the wireless signal or other communication between the remote control device 104 and the auxiliary device. For this reason, system 100 includes the capability to operate at low RF power levels, use spread spectrum technology, use frequency hopping signals, or use burst transmissions, all of which may reduce the possibility of unwanted detection.
While the preceding examples have shown remote control device 104 to be separate from weapon 106 to which illuminator 102 is attached, the remote control device 104 can be integrated, for example, directly into the rear pistol grip, forward pistol grip, trigger grip and/or upper receiver and lower receiver of the weapon. Remote control device 104 can essentially be integrated into any area that is convenient for the operator to access switch 112 to remotely control illuminator 102. Weapons 106 can include both lightweight pistols, rifles, and machine guns, heavier portable weapons, and fixed installation weapons.
A number of embodiments of the invention have been described. Nevertheless, it will be understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, other embodiments are within the scope of the following claims.
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|U.S. Classification||340/12.5, 42/117, 42/111, 455/88, 340/13.24, 340/12.52, 340/13.25|
|International Classification||G08C19/16, F41G1/35, G08C19/12, G05B11/01|
|Aug 18, 2010||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: L-3 INSIGHT TECHNOLOGY INCORPORATED, NEW HAMPSHIRE
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:INSIGHT TECHNOLOGY INCORPORATED;REEL/FRAME:024851/0430
Effective date: 20100415
|Oct 12, 2011||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: L-3 COMMUNICATIONS INSIGHT TECHNOLOGY INCORPORATED
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:L-3 INSIGHT TECHNOLOGY INCORPORATED;REEL/FRAME:027052/0397
Effective date: 20110929
|Jul 8, 2015||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4